The case for Network Security Forensics

Network security forensics is often overlooked or lightly regarded when composing an overall security strategy.  Be it forecasting a budget for forensic tools, or planning of an all-new green-field environment, the protection that proper forensics strategy provides in an environment can save countless resources when it comes to restoring a stable state, ensuring integrity, analyzing an intrusion or outage event, and learning information that can be used in the future.  Forensic concepts also aid in reinforcing that secure data remains confidential.  Forensic tools buttress the elements of a network that ensure integrity and availability.  Sometimes this means a secure chain of custody or access, touching on the administrative model, it is often affected or in compliance with legal assertions or mandate.

In the case of classified information, it is essential among other things that this data maintain integrity, privacy, security, and auditing.  This is where forensics sets in.  Data as in many cases can be volatile or dynamic information.  Appropriate security models do their part to ensure secured information is not shared intentionally in a way that compromises the security goals and they also protect against the unintentional release of information to the same ends or even by outside entities with harmful intent.  The landscape is rife with legal and compliance ramifications such as in the cases of privacy, financial, government, or identity information.

One way that the notion of integrity slips into the scope is that one of the possibilities is that network information can become corrupted or is even intentionally modified, wherein the information has lost that integrity.  This is both a reliability and security matter that is vital for the safety and health of a network environment.  This type of corruption or lack of integrity can cause scenarios where parties that need and are enabled to authorize information are suddenly not able to do so.

Counting on a robust forensic system and methodology that has been prescribed with the appropriate planning can support the very foundation of the complete security infrastructure.  Anomalous network activity or intrusion activity can be picked up in time for a timely response.   The assurance that such a system provides is very flexible in nature, embedding within all types of systems from network devices to computers, and can further be finely tuned to specific areas of concern such as database, email, and log information, just to name a few.  Of the many modern network attacks, a significant number bear the sophistication to erase log files, hiding the damage that is inflicted.  In many of these cases, forensic network information may be the only information available for triage.  The benefits that can be reaped are numerous and are present in very difficult scenarios such as environment recovery, forecasting, auditing, “damage” assessment, and beyond.  With a significant variety of options in the network forensics field, there can be many ways to explore what benefits each and every system can bring to your network.

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